I’m fairly certain I was insulted today, but living in the south, it is hard to say for sure.
One must always listen carefully to a southern woman, because even the most stinging insults are served up with so much honey that an unfortunate non-native, such as Scarlet, can be caught completely off guard. Like a snake bite, the gracious southern woman swiftly renders her victim paralyzed and defenseless.
A southern woman will feign an Academy Award winning concern upon inspecting her dear friend’s newly injected collagen lips: “Bless your heart, you’ve been stung by a BEE…OH! It’s COLLAGEN? Well of course – how precious!!” The equally gracious response goes something along the lines of “Well, thank you, Minnie-Mae, isn’t that the same precious aubergine blouse Lila–Lou buried Me-Maw in? It looks just loooooovely on you”.
Southern men do not like to do business with Yankees; there is a southern way to do things, period. Plans are in the works, I am told, for a new Donald Trump-inspired reality show to be set in Birmingham, entitled, “Bless your heart – YOU’RE FIRED – Good to see ya.”
Delivering unfortunate news, commenting on the unseemly, or simply dishing up a devilish insult is always done (if done correctly) in such a way that the receiver actually believes she has been flattered, and may even go as far to say “thank you” – until hours later, upon reflection, the receiver considers the possibility that she may have been eviscerated.
Southern women understand the importance of handling these things delicately and always manage even the most unpleasant circumstances with unfaltering grace and panache. Eternally dismayed at the endless details of Southern Etiquette, I dropped into a nail salon in Mountain Brook this week, as it is always a front row seat to the neighborhood liveliness. As I sat waiting, I was able to listen and ascertain some valuable insight on properly conducting oneself during the most trying of unfortunate circumstances: a Mountain Brook Divorce. I was intrigued to learn the following:
- If one’s deposition is during the holiday season, it is in good taste to bake cheese straws for the court reporter. Transcripts may be requested on linen paper in shades of “sand beige” and “ecru.” Be advised that this is at an additional cost and that that cases with more than forty pages on AlaCourt may be cost prohibitive. Memorable quotes from the transcript can be cross-stitched onto pillows and make for lively conversation pieces.
- Unfortunately, monogramming is not readily available on legal documents in lieu of a notary public, although upon request, some divorce attorneys will provide this service as a decorative touch (be sure to inquire beforehand, as fees vary).
- “Save-the-Date” announcements should be mailed to all of your husband’s attractive male friends no later than six weeks before the final decree.
- Avoiding your soon-to-be ex, his girlfriend, and his family at the Piggly Wiggly requires careful planning, the strategic capabilities of a stealth bomber, and requires an outside CIA consultant when more than one ex husband lives in Mountain Brook.
- Ten to twenty percent tipping is expected by the private investigator.
Compromising photos of the secretary can be made into decorative holiday cards and mailed to company employees or used for scrapbooking.
- The final duties of the bride’s maid of honor is to hostess the “stock the bar” party on the eve of the divorce trial and to assist in the yard sale when the divorce attorney comes to sell all of the couple’s furniture to satisfy his bill.
- All receipts for court appearance-associated personal maintenance such as wardrobe purchases, manicures, pedicures, spa visits, plastic surgery, yoga classes, personal trainers, meditation cruises, Japanese herbal therapy, Stuart Weitzman therapy, home redecoration therapy, Rosemary Beach therapy, Tom Williams BMW therapy, shock therapy, vodka, and anxiety medications, should be saved and submitted to your divorce attorney, as he/she will happily incorporate these expenses into the final bill for reimbursement from opposing counsel. It is worth mentioning at this point that while it is of utmost importance to continue to look one’s best, it is also sometimes advisable to avoid certain salons, where gossip is hissed like hair spray and the next thing one knows, one’s personal affairs are being broadcast like open microphone night.
- The most gracious divorce attorneys will send a thank you note and a ten percent discount coupon good towards future divorces within two weeks of the final decree.
That’s an etiquette jungle so dense that it is almost enough to make one stay married. But not quite.
Some things come and go in the tiny kingdom, but some things remain constant – and one of those is the infinite wisdom of our very own Anonymous, who has become an essential go-to guy for all inquiries about the “southern way.” However, true to form, his answer was to simply pour me a glass of his exquisite Tupun Viognier Reserva… and as usual… I forgot my question.
Good wine will do that to a woman–southern or not.
Until next time, Scarlet